270 Hospitals Ready for Medical Tourists

270 Hospitals Ready for Medical Tourists270 Hospitals Ready for Medical Tourists

About 270 hospitals have expressed readiness to admit foreign tourists seeking medical treatment, according to Shahin Mohammad Sadeqi, a member of Majlis Health Commission.

“The hospitals have set up special wards to cater to health tourists’ needs, and once the Ministry of Health certifies their compliance with international standards, they will be granted permits to operate,” he said.

The MP said the annual foreign exchange budget of the ministry is less than 20 billion rials ($615,000), and added, “Our neighboring countries spend upwards of $50 billion in the USA and European countries. If we can get only 10% of that amount, the ministry’s budget will more than double.”

Sadeqi lamented the lack of faith in Iranian healthcare and said medical services in the country are of the highest quality.

“If only our ambassadors in regional countries, such as Iraq, took measures to promote Iran’s health tourism, we’d be attracting tourists in droves.”

Sadeqi, who represents the Kazeroun constituency in Fars Province, said foreign health tourists who receive treatment in Iran automatically become ambassadors of Iranian medical tourism in their own countries.

“We need to encourage the media to help spread the word,” he said.

Referring to Iran’s affordable medical care as a major selling point, Sadeqi said, “The files of hospitals which have applied for a permit will be reviewed in the next two months.”

Earlier this month, Health Tourism Leadership Council issued a memorandum to travel agencies giving them two months to apply for medical tourism permits. Formed in early 2015, the council comprises members of foreign and health ministries, ICHHTO and the Islamic Republic of Iran Medical Council. 

According to Masoud Soltanifar, head of ICHHTO, Iran’s annual revenue from health tourism is between $400 million and $500 million, while the target is to reach $2.5 billion in the foreseeable future.